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Abstract

Incubation of brain cell suspensions with 14 mM-phenylalanine resulted in rapid alterations of amino acid metabolism and protein synthesis. Both thc rate of uptake and the final intracellular concentration of several radioactively-labelled amino acids were decreased by high concentrations oi phenylalanine. By prelabelling cells with radioactive amino acids, phenylalanine was also shown to effect a rapid loss of the labelled amino acids from brain cells. Amino acid analysis after the incubation of the cells with phenylalanine indicated that several amino acids were decreased in their intracellular concentrations with effects similar to those measured with radioisotopic experiments (large neutral > small and large basic > small neutral > acidic amino acids). Although amino acid uptake and efflux were altered by the presence of 14 mwphenylalanine, little or no alteration was detected in the resulting specific activity of the intracellular amino acids. High levels of phenylalanine did not significantly altcr cellular catabolism of either alanine, lysine, leucine or isoleucine. As determined by the isolation of labcllcd aminoacyl-tRNA from cells incubated with and without phenylalanine, there was little or no alteration in the level of this precursor for radioactive alanine and lysine. There was, however, a detectable decrease in thc labelling of aminoacyl-tRNA for leucine and isoleucine. Only aftcr correcting for the changes of the specific activity of the precursors and thcir availability to translational events, could the effects of phenylalanine on protein synthesis be established. An inhibition of the incorporation into protein for each amino acid was approximately 20%.